Everything is Bigger in Texas, Even Geocaching
Geocaching is a phenomenon that has hit Texas hard. It is basically a real-world outdoors treasure hunt for adults. Geocachers use GPS-enabled devices to navigate to a set of coordinates to find a hidden cache. These caches contain prizes and so you can take one and leave another for the next player. Sounds interesting? Well here’s how you can get started!
Pick a Cache: Geocaching took Texas by storm, so there are many sites for you to pick from. However, before you pick a site you should know the different options. Picking a site can be done at Geocaching.com or through the Geocache app on your phone. Each cache has a different size that is posted on its description as well as a terrain and difficulty indicator. A one star terrain means the geocache is accessible by wheelchair, while a five star means you might need special vehicles such as a boat or All-Terrain Vehicle. A one star in difficulty means the cache can easily be found, while a five star means it is hard to find or hard to open. Now that you understand the basics of the different cache levels, you can choose a cache that is perfect for you.
A wonderful place for any beginner to start is by entering the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge. The state parks have joined the hunt to provide caches in over 90 parks and historical sites across the state. Simply download the passport on their site and get coordinates for caches at any of the listed parks. They also organize Geocache 101 lessons and hunts so be sure to check out their calendar if you’d like to join.
Pack Your Bag: Always remember to pack your handheld GPS system. The best GPS will get you through any site, regardless of the condition. This is particularly handier than a GPS-enabled smartphone as sometimes these lose signal in some of the hidden locations. You should also bring a pen or a pencil to mark down your find in the cache notebook, and bring essentials for your trip such as water, hiking shoes, and insect repellent as you never know what you will venture into. Also, if you’d like to collect the prize at the end of your hunt, be sure to bring a small and inexpensive item with you so that you can trade.
Go Explore: Once you’ve picked your cache and packed your bag, you’re ready to explore. Make sure you follow the directions and think about the clues carefully. Also, be aware of your surroundings and just like any hike or outdoor activity, be careful.
Have fun and safe geocaching!
CLM Contributing Writer